Table of Contents

1. Overview

A borehole is an expensive investment. Make sure you do your homework.

  • It is advisable to ask for references preferably from clients who have had time to assess the quality of work over a reasonable period.
  • The drilling contractor can never guarantee that he will strike water, and therefore it is the client who is at risk for cost of the borehole, regardless of whether it is wet or dry.
  • It is in your best interest to sign a contract that details all the costs that are likely to be incurred. Bear in mind, though, that the drilling contractor cannot be expected to say beforehand what the borehole will cost in total. There are many unknowns to consider such as the borehole’s final depth, the amount required and the time taken for its development.
  • Insist that the driller provide a record of the exact depth at which the most promising water fissure is located. This information is of vital importance to the pump installer so that he can select the correct pump for your needs.
  • You may wish to sell your farm or property at a later stage, and the borehole represents a substantial capital investment. A driller’s log, construction certificate, yield test certificate, electrical clearance, pump details and commissioning data will be positive proof of the professionalism of the contractor.
  • Is he/she a member of the Borehole Water Association of Southern Africa (BWA)? Membership of BWA shows that the contractor/supplier you are dealing with is interested in the long-term viability, professionalism and survival of the industry.
  • The local municipality/council may require that permission be obtained to sinking a borehole. This is normally little more than a formality.
  • The minimum specifications of most banks in South Africa for granting a bond on property not supplied with mains water, e.g. farm houses, plots and smallholdings, is that a yield certificate be supplied by a recognised pump installer that states that the borehole on the property is capable of yielding a constant flow of water from the borehole of a minimum of 1500 litres over a 24 hour period. They are also required to supply proof that the water is hygienically safe for human consumption.
  • There are SABS standards now available for the ground water industry.

More detailed information is available from the Borehole Water Association. Included in its offerings is the publication A Layman’s Guide to Borehole Ownership.


Wind driven water supply schemes for communities require three basic items:

Wind. Wind data is available in most parts of the world, even in remote rural areas. Windmills can be so designed that they can pump water in the lightest or strongest winds. In light wind areas the cost of pumping water with windmills will increase. As a generalisation, windmills are most economic in areas where the wind speed exceeds 10 km/hr for a period exceeding eight hours per day.

Water. Underground water is available in most parts of the world at varying depths. Windmills are capable of pumping water from surface water sources over long distances or from great depths of up to 200 metres underground or even more with special windmill configurations. Windmill pumping schemes should be designed so that they never extract more than 70 percent of the tested well yield.

Community buy-in. If this is a community project, rule one is that the local populace must see the real need for clean potable water. Without this need, any water supply system will fail. This is the most important rule of windmill water supply and is the most neglected part of the installation process.

Source: Southern Cross Industries


2. Local business environment

See also the general "Water" chapter in the Issues section.

For information on the aquifer classification system of South Africa, refer to Water Research Commission (WRC) research report ‘South African aquifer system management classification’ (WRC Report No: KV 77/95; Author: Mr. Parsons R).

In 2011 the Water Research Commission (WRC) released a report on the country’s groundwater. According to WRC water research manager, Dr Shafick Adams, the total volume of available, renewable groundwater in South Africa was 10,34-billion m3 a year. The country’s annual usage of this water was estimated as being between 2-billion and 4-billion m3. The WRC concluded that there was the potential to considerably increase groundwater supplies in South Africa as part of the total resource. Find the report “Groundwater to play a key role in South Africa – WRC” on the Internet.